Fulton commissioners freeze property assessments at 2016 levels

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Fulton commissioners freeze property assessments at 2016 levels

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Dwight Robinson, chief appraiser, speaks before Fulton County residents during Emergency Town Hall Meeting to discuss Property Tax Assessments hosted by Fulton County Office of Chairman John Eaves at Harriett G. Darnell Senior Multipurpose Facility on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. Eaves and the other commissioners voted Wednesday to return the values to 2016 levels. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Fulton County homeowners will get a break from rising property values, county commissioners decided Wednesday.

Relying on an 1881 law that says they “shall have the power to correct any errors in the tax digest,” commissioners voted unanimously to freeze property values at 2016 levels.

Top elected officials say there is a way out of the highly controversial valuations in Fulton County.

The freeze is is a temporary solution, commissioners said, but offers relief to residents who were worried that their higher property values would translate into higher taxes. Nearly a quarter of the county’s more than 317,000 residential parcels received values that were up 50 percent or more.

“I do believe this is a legal, grounded solution,” Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves said before the vote. “It’s also a moral, grounded solution.”

Homeowners will receive new property assessments in the mail, but probably not until August. The more than 5,000 residents who appealed will have their appeals voided because of the new assessments.

The resolution gives Fulton County Chief Appraiser Dwight Robinson permission to phase in new, higher values over 2018 and 2019. Members of the legislature have also said they plan to consider changes to the assessment and taxing process that could ease the tax burden for residents in the future.

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